There are more than a hundred different types of viruses which form the Human papillomaviruses or HPVs. These viruses are so called because they can cause papillomas or warts in the person once they are infected with this virus. These are non cancerous tumours which grow on the skin on any part of the body including the feet and hands but mainly in the throat and on the genital areas. However, there are certain HPVs which are known to cause cancer and are called carcinogenic HPVs, oncogenic high risk HPVs.
In these different strains of HPV, which are over a hundred. There are thirty to forty which cause genital infections and are sexually transmitted from one person to the other. Though these infections are known to be sexually transmitted, because of the delay in the appearance of warts and other outward signs, doctors cannot predetermine when the infection was passed onto the person. The infection shows outward signs a few weeks or months down the line. This is a stubborn infection and can persist over a long period. In women the infection can cause a greater risk of cervical cancer developing at a later time if left untreated.
The only way to prevent the spread of HPV is to avoid physical contact with persons who are infected. For those who are sexually active and are not in a monogamous relationship the only other way to protect themselves it to have safe sex which means using a condom.